The 40-foot rubber duck tediously made his way down the Ohio River and into our hearts on Friday afternoon. He was greeted by the thousands of eager Pittsburghers (present company included) who lined the riverbanks and bridges like pre-teens at a Beatles concert.
After posting a few photos on Facebook, I noticed a fairly sizable divide in the reception of this little, er... enormous fellow. Many are skeptical and confused at why in the world a giant rubber duck warrants such a spectacle. Sarcastic hashtags such as #whotheduckcares and #whogivesaduck abound.
At the festival, a friend of ours even overheard what I can only assume to be an incredibly religious couple angrily state "It's a disgrace, the way they're all worshiping it like a false God."
My response to those people had I been close enough to give one? Um no. There is no worshiping. We're all simply watching and scratching our heads and coming together to enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity. No candles were lit, no prayers were said at its non-existent feet. It's just plain fun.
So "Who cares?" I do. I care a lot. And not just because I happen to have an affinity to ducks.
Because this is Pittsburgh. We were the first US city to receive this ridiculously hilarious global phenomenon. We can't even get on Britney Spears' tour schedule, but we got the duck. That's a pretty big duckin' deal, I'd say. Pittsburgh is gaining some serious ground as a cool place to live, work and visit these days and I'm proud to be here to witness it unfold. We made national lists. We knit a bridge.
Heck, the Pirates are even rounding out a winning season. IT'S ALL COMING TOGETHER FOR US!
So while yes, it may be a little odd that we're all so darn excited about a giant rubber ducky floating down a river, its what the duck symbolizes that's really so exciting. We are going places. We are proud. We are Pittsburgh.